Medical marijuana is kind of a hot topic these days. Recently, more countries have been moving toward legalising the drug for its potential health benefits, and several research centres and hospitals around the world have announced new studies into the effects of cannabis from a medical perspective. But how does medical marijuana actually work?
We know that health experts have been debating the use of marijuana in medical circles for centuries, most recently focusing on cancer patients. Unbeknownst to many, medical marijuana also helps with other medical conditions, but, of course, there may be many adverse effects that arise from legalising marijuana.
Marijuana has also been proven to significantly reduce the negative symptoms of many illnesses, such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis. At the heart of marijuana consumption, Dutch doctors are not reluctant to prescribe medical cannabis when necessary.
According to one of the researchers from Metropolitan Hospital Center of Neurology New York, Dr. Barbara Koppel, oral cannabis extract can improve spasticity and painful spasms suffered by multiple sclerosis patients. The other two types of medical marijuana, namely tertrahydrocannabinol (THC) and nabiximol, most likely help with urinary dysfunction among the same patients. The only medical condition that is not affected by the three is tremor.
Aside from MS, researchers have shown that medical marijuana can also decrease the severity of misery amongst HIV patients. One of the research is from Cannabis Use in HIV for Pain and Other Medical Symptoms from Journal of Pain and Symptoms Management, which states that not only does medical marijuana help with muscle pain and nerve pain, it also helps with lack of appetite, nausea, and depression among others. The only symptoms it did not have effect on relates to vision, weakness, memory, and speech.
While deliberating the pros of this topic seem rather idealistic, we should also consider the consequences medical marijuana poses. We are no strangers to the idea of increased substance abuse that legalising the drug might cause.
Even though research is still unclear, there are signs that show smoking marijuana can also cause lung cancer in the same way that tobacco does. Legal authorities should also consider the quality of the medical marijuana itself when considering legalizing the drug.
Prof. Arno Hazekamp, the Head of Research at Bedrocan BV, a licensed company that grows cannabis for medicinal purposes, has found that even in the Netherlands, the quality of medical marijuana varies from the sources and the brands. Evidently, the city’s famous coffee shops do not sell marijuana that is as pure as proper medical-grade weed. Bacterial contamination is very common among marijuana sold in these establishments.
The question remains whether we should legalise it at all because it poses threats. Are the adverse effects of marijuana less important than the positive effects? Is the lack of conclusive research worth gambling in? We’ll let you decide.
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